"...so the take away message for organizations (and personal users) still running windows XP PC's is to upgrade now or fail to do so at your peril"
What is Windows XP end of support?
Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.
As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC...
...If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might [WILL] become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP.
Computer weekly says the following:
Techies understand XP well, but then those writing malicious code understand it well too. With an ageing security architecture and a lack of full support, Windows XP will be a major platform for hackers to attack...
...For organizations, it should be the wake-up call to move to a more modern operating system that will be less open to such attacks.
So the take away message for organizations (and personal users) still running windows XP PC's is to upgrade now or fail to do so at your peril.
This will be a challenge world wide as XP is still installed on around 30% of the worlds PC's, testament to how good an operating system XP panned out to be. Because this is such a large number some security consultants are predicting that the hackers are probably sitting on an number of exploits and will wait until the product goes end of support before they release them. We are likely to see an increase in "drive-by attacks" where just by visiting a web site means you are infected let along downloading and running a file.
Having said all that I have been strongly recommending people move to windows 8 (or at least 7) for some time due to the significantly more secure nature of these products by design. As the sophistication of hacking technologies increased over time so has the sophistication of Windows to withstand these attacks.
If you have some legacy software or hardware that absolutely must run on XP and you have no choice but to continue, some things to consider:
- Don't connect this PC to the internet if possible
- DON'T Browse the internet on this PC
- Don't receive any email on this PC
- Don't use this PC at all except for the specific requirement.
- Its still absolutely not recommended so more conversation needs to be had if your planning to do this.
So what about windows server 2003 (which is the server version of windows XP)? Support for this product ends on 14/07/15 but you should really be looking at this NOW and scheduling a replacement date for any systems running 2003 this includes small business server 2003.